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The Best College Football Tight Ends of All Time

Updated October 20, 2019 4.0k votes 501 voters 9.3k views57 items

List RulesFootball players at the tight end position who had epic college careers

American college football, like all football originated as rugby in England and Canada. Eventually rugby came stateside, and then became the game we know and love today. Years later the NCAA was formed to regulate college teams. The tight ends on this list were the best of the best during their college careers.

The NCAA allows students from American universities, colleges, Canadian universities, or military academies to play. American college football has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, but it was actually through college football that the American football rules gained popularity in the first place.

The tight end is an offensive position somewhere between an offensive lineman and a wide receiver. They are responsible for receiving, blocking and sometimes rushing.

Below we commemorate the greatest college tight ends of ALL TIME! If you see a name missing feel free to add it and vote up your favorite tight ends, based on their incredible college careers.
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  • Tony Gonzalez1
    132
    82

    Tony Gonzalez

    Tight end

    BirthplaceTorrance, California, United States of America

    Age39

    TeamsCalifornia Golden Bears football, Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs

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    #4 of 28 The Best NFL Players With The Most Pro Bowl Appearances#3 of 176 The Best Atlanta Falcons of All Time

  • Mike Ditka2
    109
    63

    Mike Ditka

    Tight end

    BirthplaceCarnegie, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    Age80

    TeamsChicago Bears, Pittsburgh Panthers football, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys

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    #28 of 150 Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative#296 of 904 Celebrity Death Pool 2021

  • Jason Witten3
    127
    80

    Jason Witten

    Tight end

    BirthplaceElizabethton, Tennessee, USA

    Age38

    TeamsDallas Cowboys, Las Vegas Raiders

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    #131 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever#4 of 48 The Best University of Tennessee Football Players Ever

  • Rob Gronkowski4
    140
    91

    BirthplaceAmherst, New York

    Age31

    TeamsTampa Bay Buccaneers

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    #1331 of 1,427 The Best Athletes Of All Time#129 of 322 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

  • Antonio Gates5
    91
    55

    Antonio Gates

    Tight end

    BirthplaceDetroit, Michigan, United States of America

    Age35

    TeamsSan Diego Chargers

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    #48 of 77 The Best Athletes Who Have Used Performance Enhancing Drugs#85 of 106 The Fastest NFL Players of All Time

  • Shannon Sharpe6
    79
    44

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois, United States of America

    Age47

    TeamsDenver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, Savannah State Tigers football

    More Shannon Sharpe 

    #93 of 329 The Most Obnoxious Athletes#5 of 55 The Best NFL Buys for the Money

  • Jeremy Shockey7
    76
    45

    BirthplaceAda, Oklahoma

    Age35

    TeamsNew Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, Miami Hurricanes football, New York Giants

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    #14 of 64 The Best Miami Football Players of All Time#37 of 149 The Best New York Giants of All Time

  • Vernon Davis8
    81
    58

    Vernon Davis

    Tight end

    BirthplaceWashington, D.C.

    Age31

    TeamsWashington Redskins

  • Ozzie Newsome9
    62
    38

    Ozzie Newsome

    Tight end

    BirthplaceMuscle Shoals, Alabama, United States of America

    Age59

    TeamsCleveland Browns

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    #7 of 91 The Best Alabama Crimson Tide Football Players of All Time#2 of 26 The Best NFL Tight Ends of the '70s

  • Kellen Winslow10

    More Kellen Winslow 

    #49 of 143 Athletes Whose Careers Ended Too Soon#24 of 36 The Best NFL Wide Receivers of the '80s

  • Dallas Clark11
    61
    40

    Dallas Clark

    Tight end

    BirthplaceSioux Falls, South Dakota

    Age36

    TeamsIndianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, Iowa Hawkeyes football

  • Dave Casper12
    55
    34

    Dave Casper

    Tight end, Wide receiver

    BirthplaceBemidji, Minnesota

    Age64

    More Dave Casper 

    #15 of 82 The Best Notre Dame Football Players of All Time#24 of 35 Undeserving Members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame

  • Keith Jackson13
    57
    43

    Keith Jackson

    Tight end

    BirthplaceLittle Rock, Arkansas

    Age55

    More Keith Jackson 

    #10 of 74 The Best Oklahoma Sooners of All Time#52 of 246 The Best Miami Dolphins of All Time

  • Brent Jones14
    40
    28

    Brent Jones

    Tight end

    BirthplaceSanta Clara, California

    Age57

    TeamsSan Francisco 49ers

  • Travis Kelce15
    26
    12

    Travis Kelce

    Tight end

    BirthplaceCleveland Heights, Ohio

    Age26

    TeamsCincinnati Bearcats, Kansas City Chiefs

  • Mark Chmura16
    34
    23

    Mark Chmura

    Tight end

    BirthplaceDeerfield, Massachusetts

    Age51

    TeamsGreen Bay Packers, Boston College Eagles football

    More Mark Chmura 

    #65 of 286 The Best Green Bay Packers Of All Time#303 of 428 Here's a List of Every Known Republican Celebrity

  • Kyle Rudolph17
    42
    38

    Kyle Rudolph

    Tight end

    BirthplaceCincinnati, Ohio

    Age26

    TeamsMinnesota Vikings

  • Mark Bavaro18
    37
    35

    Mark Bavaro

    Tight end

    BirthplaceWinthrop, Massachusetts

    Age52

    TeamsCleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants

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    #6 of 24 The Best NFL Tight Ends of the '90s#113 of 150 The Best Cleveland Browns of All Time

  • Jermaine Gresham19
    34
    30

    BirthplaceArdmore, Oklahoma

    Age32

    TeamsCincinnati Bengals

  • Heath Miller20
    41
    41

    Heath Miller

    Tight end

    BirthplaceRichlands, Virginia, United States of America

    Age33

    TeamsPittsburgh Steelers

  • Jay Novacek21
    53
    58

    Jay Novacek

    Tight end

    BirthplaceMartin, South Dakota, United States of America

    Age53

    TeamsPhoenix Cardinals, Wyoming Cowboys football, Dallas Cowboys

  • Todd Christensen22
    34
    33

    Todd Christensen

    Fullback, Tight end

    BirthplaceBellefonte, Pennsylvania

    AgeDied at 57 (1956-2013)

    More 

    #50 of 107 College & Professional Athletes Who Were Raised Mormon#44 of 86 The Best NFL Players From Pennsylvania

  • Ben Coates23
    26
    23

    Ben Coates

    Tight end

    BirthplaceGreenwood, South Carolina

    Age46

    More Ben Coates 

    #33 of 246 The Best New England Patriots Of All Time#24 of 50 The Best NFL Players From South Carolina

  • Todd Heap24
    32
    30

    Todd Heap

    Tight end

    BirthplaceMesa, Arizona, United States of America

    Age35

    TeamsArizona Cardinals, Arizona State Sun Devils football, Baltimore Ravens

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    #14 of 95 The Best Baltimore Ravens of All Time#11 of 40 The Best Arizona Cardinals Tight Ends Of All Time

  • Ed Dickson25
    28
    25

    Ed Dickson

    Tight end

    BirthplaceLos Angeles, Inglewood, California

    Age28

    TeamsSeattle Seahawks